A fact about me that is relevant to the rest of this post: I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I LOVE Harry Potter. I obsess over Harry Potter. I spend a lot of time thinking about Harry Potter.
In the summer of 2012, a website called Pottermore was launched in beta. In July of this year, a two-part play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open. And a movie called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premieres in November of 2016. Each of these projects are extensions of the Potter universe. And yet, I can’t bring it in me to be too excited.
Pottermore is a website that J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has used to expand the Potter-verse (Potter Universe), by becoming a new medium for news, articles, and interactive features. The site has revealed the backgrounds of certain characters such as Professor McGonagall, the origins of the Potter family, famous wizards from the different houses of Hogwarts, information about different wizarding schools located around the world, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the soon to be released movie with screenplay by J.K. Rowling. It is loosely based on a book released by Rowling with the same title, but instead follows Newt Scamander as he discovers some of the “fantastic beasts” in question. Finally, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play, written by J.K. Rowling that details the “19 Years Later” that fans everywhere have been speculating about.
All of these new expansions are very interesting and exciting, but I’m having a hard time being interested and excited.
I read the Harry Potter books, and a whole new world opened up in my imagination. I watched the movies, and the world that I saw in my head took warped a little and became a little closer to that of the movies. Now when I think of Hermione Granger, I’m more likely to think of Emma Watson than the book loving, bushy haired, know-it-all that I saw in my head. I’ve had several different opportunities to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park in Universal Studios Orlando, but have declined because I don’t want to ruin the land the land of Harry Potter in my mind any more than it’s already been. Why can’t we just let Potter stay as it is? I, for one, would much rather speculate on the backstories of the characters and write fanfiction about it than have it spoon fed to us. J.K. Rowling, I love you, but isn’t it good enough for you to know explicitly Professor McGonagall’s backstory and leave the rest of us to think about it for ourselves?
I think that this is the problem with story lines and universes and the continuous thought of, oh let’s just release one more movie and one more book that’s been happening lately. The more cynical part of me thinks that the only reason that these universes appear to be expanding needlessly (in my mind) is because of money. Harry Potter is already popular, so of course people will line up outside the movie theatres for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Star Wars already had a hugely loyal fan base, so of course releasing three new movies isn’t out of the question. And people have already embraced the idea of Iron Man and Captain America fighting together, so now let’s see what people are going to see when we put them against each other.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But all of the bows were neatly tied, so can’t we just let sleeping dragons lie? It’s for this reason that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be seeing Captain America: Civil War. I like where Marvel’s left it off at the end of The Winter Soldier and am not the hugest fan of the all of the extras – Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Yes, I’m still most definitely going to buy the book formatted scripts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It doesn’t mean that I think these expansions of the Harry Potter universe are the best thing that’s happened since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out.